The Mathematical Society

Dr Gary Chaffey from the University of Surrey came to give a talk on October 3rd 2016. Dr Chaffey currently works at AWE ( the Atomic Weapons Establishment) and he began by giving us a brief overview of the type of mathematics used within this area of the defence sector before going on to talk about his research in mathematical biology at the University of Surrey. Dr Chaffey talked about the mathematics behind modelling the cell cycle; this is currently allowing progress in the treatment of cancer by enabling researchers to map the point in the cycle when cells are at their most vulnerable and therefore most susceptible to chemotherapy or radiation. He also talked about the analysis of ECG signals and using the idea of coordinate transformations to extract information from noisy signals. This allows the team to quickly identify abnormalities such as various heart conditions.

Professor Tim Sluckin from Southampton University was our guest speaker on January 25th 2016. He led us through the history of our current number system from the development of positive integers enabling us to count, up to the modern day invention of complex numbers in response to the need to solve certain polynomial equations. During his talk Professor Sluckin posed a number of interesting philosophical questions; in particular the question as to whether our current number system was invented, discovered or defined caused much debate.

On December 3rd 2015 Rhys Tyler was our guest speaker. Rhys talked about the world of consultancy and also his work for Transport for London on mathematical modelling. He gave students a valuable insight into the usefulness of mathematical thinking in a variety of business situations emphasising how the problem solving skills gained from studying Mathematics were essential in many roles and much in demand. The Q & A session was very informative and students had many interesting questions about consultancy and where it could lead. They were particularly interested to hear that Rhys had studied for a Joint Honours Degree in Mathematics and Sports Science and the fact that the breadth of such a degree really lends itself to a variety roles.

On October 15th 2015 Chris Partlett and Dominic Henry from the University of Birmingham were our guest speakers. They gave an engaging and informative talk entitled "Trust me, I'm a Maths Doctor...." based on their experiences of studying Mathematics at Birmingham University, both as undergraduates and later as postgraduates carrying out research for their PhD's. Chris talked about statistical research to analyse medical data and support clinical trials whilst Dominic talked about his interest in Fluid Mechanics and in particular the stability of flows with a free surface. Their presentation was particularly useful in highlighting to students the wide variety of areas that further study of Mathematics can lead to. 

On March 5th 2015, the Mathematical society had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Alex Forrester for an informative one hour talk, about the design process for human powered aircraft. During the talk, the audience was able to observe the creation of an aerofoil, using binary genetic algorithms aiming to get the lowest drag coefficient aerofoil possible, for a predetermined chord length and wing surface area. He also explained how he overcame the difficulties of making a 6 taper stage wing and how he achieved a perfect, quarter-elliptical lift distribution over each half of the wing. The talk was truly engaging and sparked lots of interest from the audience.

Professor C Osmond from the University of Southampton was our guest speaker on the 4th December 2014. Over twenty students and staff attended the talk ‘curious mathematics’ and he used the book ‘ The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time’ in order to highlight some interesting problems which had surprising results. A most enjoyable hour had by all.

Professor Ian Sinclair was our guest on March 26th 2014 and his talk "Revealing hidden detail: what happens when the CAT (scanner) sneaks out of the hospital" was very well received. Real life applications such as archeological finds, stresses and strains in materials, environmental impact of phosphates and minerals as well as medical applications were discussed and Professor Sinclair gave us a glimpse of the mathematics behind the CT scanner. Southampton University has some of the most advanced high resolution scanners in the world today and is a leader in this field of research. pdf notes

The Mathematical Society welcomed Mr Nick Line (Old Edwardian) on December 9th 2013. Mr Line gave a most engaging talk on being an Actuary. The talk was very well received and a good number of students attended. Mr Line was from Markel International (London). pdf notes

The Mathematical Society met on October 8th 2013 with a lecture from Dr Silvester. Dr Silvester gave a most informative talk on how one sets about constructing an acceptable musical scale, and what choices and compromises have to be made. The Pythagorean system of musical tuning in which the frequency ratios of all intervals are based on the ratio 3:2 was discussed which eventually led onto the equal temperament. This is a system of tuning, in which every pair of adjacent notes has an identical frequency ratio. A thoroughly enjoyable hour and very favourably received by all. A total of forty three students and nine staff attended this lecture. pdf notes